Sept. 17, 2012 -- Eating a diet that's high in sodium has been linked in numerous studies to higher blood pressure in adults. Now, new research from the CDC suggests the same link in children and teens.
The investigation found that the more sodium children and teenagers ate, the higher their risk for developing high blood pressure, especially if they were overweight or obese.
Average sodium intake among the children and teens was as high as that of adults. Most sodium is found in processed or packaged foods and restaurant food, not from salt.
CDC nutritional epidemiologist Elena V. Kuklina, MD, who co-authored the study, says high blood pressure is increasingly common among children in the U.S., and high sodium in the diet may be a major contributor.
The average daily intake of sodium among the children and teens in the study was 3,400 mg, the equivalent of just under 2 teaspoons of salt.
That is more than double the daily maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium that the American Heart Association has set as a goal for children and adults.
“We clearly need to reduce sodium intake at the population level,” Kuklina says. “We can do this by eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.”